PICTURE THIS AS YOUR CHILD’S MIDDAY MEAL: A LUNCHBOX FILLED WITH COLORFUL TOMATOES AND PEPPERS, STRAWBERRIES AND A PINWHEEL WHOLE GRAIN SANDWICH PACKED WITH SPINACH, LEAN TURKEY AND LOW-FAT CREAM CHEESE.
Preparing your child’s lunch can be an activity that both you and your child can enjoy together. Make their lunch fun, colorful and filled with love. Educating young children about proper nutrition not only benefits them in the classroom, but also for their futures. This can begin by packing a healthy lunch full of all five-food groups: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and dairy.
Begin by using an existing BPA free container or purchase a portable lunchbox. My personal preference is the Rubbermaid lunchbox Entrée kit which is a great option sold at most large retailers. Use containers that have different compartments, in order to preserve freshness and distinct flavors. Cupcake holders can also be used as dividers, adding a fun twist to an average lunch. Fixed ice packs conveniently allow for appropriate temperatures for perishable foods.
With your child, build one of their favorite sandwiches using lean meat, such as turkey, or nut butter and all-natural jelly on whole grain bread. Remember to explain the importance of eating fruits and vegetables and how they are essential in receiving daily fiber, Vitamin C, potassium and other key vitamins, nutrients and minerals. Entertain your child using foods such as celery, adding nut butter and raisins to represent ants on a log. You can also arrange fruits to look like a rainbow and remind your child about the benefits of eating an array of colors. Make miniature sandwiches or scenes using carrot shreds, kale, yellow tomatoes or fresh corn. A fun, safe way to allow your child to cut his or her fruits is by using their favorite shaped cookie cutter. Cut vegetables and fruits in different shapes at the beginning of the week to allow for quick assembly.
Your child’s lunch does not have to be “Pinterest worthy” but it can be one packed-full of fun in the form of fruits, veggies, lean meats, and low-fat cheese or dairy. This way, you can be content knowing that at lunchtime your child will be eating a nutritious meal, while leaving them blissfully happy, and with a full tummy.